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Add Pest Prevention to Your Spring-Cleaning List

The flowers will soon be in bloom, days are becoming warmer and spring-cleaning is in full swing. While most homes are brushing off the dust of winter, many homeowners forget to add pest prevention to their spring-cleaning list. Along with preventative measures, this is a perfect time to inspect your home for current and potential pest problems prior to summer as pests are beginning to emerge from their winter hiding places.

Pest infestations almost always start on the exterior of the home and work their way inside with only a few exceptions such as bed bugs and other introduced pests. Preventing exterior pests is therefore extremely important. Modifying habitat to make your home less appealing to pests will go a long way in preventing pest problems before they start. Keeping grass, weeds and even native areas cut short will help to reduce pests like fleas, ticks and spiders. Make sure that trees, bushes and other vegetation are trimmed back away from the foundation and that ground cover is limited around the perimeter of the foundation. Evaluate your home for areas where water tends to collect and install proper drainage in order to decrease activity of mosquitoes, wasps, springtails and other pests seeking sources of moisture. Make sure that wood piles are stored off the ground and about 20 feet from the home whenever possible. Inspect and repair/replace window screens, door sweeps and weather stripping that may be damaged. Seal cracks, gaps and crevices that allow pests to enter the home. Pay close attention to utility penetrations when sealing the home. Check that vents are properly screened to prevent entry of rodents, birds and wasps looking for nesting sites.

On the interior of the home, deep clean areas where pest activity may occur including behind the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washer/dryer and water heater. These are common areas to find insects and rodents within the home. Make sure that all gaps, cracks and crevices are sealed on the inside of the home as well. Check under sinks and around other plumbing penetrations for gaps that allow pests to enter.

Inspect for rodent droppings, mud tubes (termites), larvae and insects that may indicate pest activity. If you encounter pest activity or evidence of a pest problem, be sure to contact a pest control professional for assistance.